Category Archives: Life

It’s Not Me It’s You

I used to have a friend named Annie (not her real name) who, after we had made plans, would inevitably change them. She’d change the time, the meeting place or the date, or she’d postpone. I was friends with her for over twenty years. It got to be a joke in our family to guess which item she’d call to change. If she showed up as scheduled, we’d all be shocked.

Annie always supposedly had a good reason for doing this. I eventually understood that this was who she was and I could either tolerate it or give up on her. I genuinely enjoyed her company so I accepted it. At least she called. She didn’t just not show up and leave me hanging.

These days? I am not so fortunate. This week I set a new record. I was stood up twice. Once by a friend/business associate and later by a former coworker/friend. This seems to happen to me a lot. I make plans…or I think I’m making plans with someone. Quite often I allow them to choose the time, place and date. I show up. They do not. They ignore my texts and phone calls. My policy now is I give them fifteen minutes and I’m out of there.

I began to wonder why this pattern keeps repeating. Do I attract unreliable and indifferent people? My daughter says no and recounts the number of her “friends” who are always so busy and just don’t know when they can get together. The phone calls and texts that go unanswered. The plans that get cancelled.

Maybe it’s a control issue. Or an overly exaggerated sense of self-importance. Let’s face it. We all have 24 hours in a day. We all work. We all have families and other obligations. But as my daughter says, “Sometimes I work a ten-hour day but if I really want to get together with my friends afterward, I’ll make the time and find the energy.”

These days almost all communication is by cell phone. Even at my advanced age, my cell phone is always in my general vicinity. Do I ever forget things? Yes. I forgot one of my dear friend’s birthdays a few weeks ago and I forgot to send a post in for a guest blog that should have appeared this week. I know I sometimes forget. I write appointments and commitments down (as in both of those cases). I enter them on my computer’s calendar. And yes, sometimes things still fall through the cracks. But I try to learn from my mistakes and forgetfulness. Maybe I need to write two notes to myself instead of one.

But these other individuals? I can’t explain their behavior. I don’t understand it. Especially when it’s their idea to get together with me. I didn’t instigate it so why am I the one sitting there wondering why they didn’t show up? Wondering why they can’t respond to a text or a phone call.

Maybe they like thinking that they’re oh so busy or their lives are so chaotic that meeting with me got pushed to the side, crowded out by so many more important things and people. Once people show you who they are, don’t make them show you again. I need to remember that the next time one of them says, “Hey, let’s get together.” Because my answer will be, “Unless you want to show up at my house at a certain date and time, forget it. I’m not meeting with you anywhere else.” And if they question me, I’ll simply say what I know to be true. “It isn’t me. It’s you.”

2015-02-06 22.14.14 (4)As you may have noticed, sometimes my blog isn’t about Reading, Writing or Romancing. It’s about the little things in life that bug me!  I am lucky in that I do have a couple of close friends who never bail on me. If they say they’ll be somewhere, they always show up. I hope you are as lucky. Thanks for reading.


My Husband The Not Navy Seal

IMG_0756It’s all over the news on Veteran’s Day, the Navy Seal who shot Osama Bin Laden.  He is to be admired for sure for his bravery and he is definitely an American hero.

But as we sit down to another of my culinary attempts (Crockpot Kung Pao chicken) I tell Bill he is a true American hero as well.  He seems baffled by this, especially since he never served in the military.

Yes, I explain but you’ve stuck it out with me for almost 35 years.  You’ve eaten my experiments more times than I can count without complaint.  That’s got to count for something.  Because I know it couldn’t have been easy.  In truth, the man deserves a medal although he’ll probably never get one.

For most of his life he went into office battle every day providing for his family.  He suffered his share of defeats there.  I’m sure there were triumphs as well, but  there might also have been days when he would have liked to chuck it all and walk away. But he didn’t.

He stuck it out.  Through the births of two children.  Raising of teenagers.  Gains and losses.  A sometimes crazy wife whose moods he didn’t understand.  Were there days he wished he could just walk away?  I don’t know but he never did.IMG_1211

He sucked it up and too often displayed what we in the family refer to as “The Meyers Stoicism.”  It makes you want to smack them for not displaying any emotion whatsoever.  He’d have been great in the military. Loyal to a fault.  Standing up for what he believed in.  Sucking it up, sticking it out, surviving without complaint.

There are so many American heroes.  Some of them risk their lives to go overseas on dangerous missions to keep us safe.  Some of them keep us safe here at home.  They’re the tough, silent guys who don’t get much credit for bearing up under the pressures of everyday American life.

If you ever wondered why romance writers write romance, this is part of the reason, for me at least.  Lots of romance novels are inspired by everyday heroes.  They don’t make the news headlines.  You’ve probably never heard of these guys.  But you might be married to one.  Maybe your father was one.  Or your boyfriend, your brother, your uncle.  They stick with you through the bumps on the road of life, and they’re still there when you get to “the end.”

NobodysFool72smNobody’s Fool available January 6, 2015

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The Last Sarcoxie Day

10556496_10203511984774854_3627893454693989324_nBack in Sarcoxie I stop to visit Maxine once more.  I won’t see her again before I leave.  I wish I had the energy to go down to the square again.  I want more pictures.  I want to people watch and absorb the atmosphere.  I have ideas for blogs but I’m exhausted.

Sunday Steve and I go to 10:30 Mass and stop to visit Dad’s and Kevin’s graves afterward.  it’s a beautiful day.  Warm, sunny and breezy.  Of course it is.  I’m leaving later.

Lenore has made spaghetti for lunch and it’s delicious like everything that comes out of her kitchen.  My cousins and their wives are there.  Pat’s been in a car accident and has a broken vertabra and other injuries.  He’s in a plastic body brace that looks massively uncomfortable.  He’s recently started a new job and is concerned about how long his recovery will be.  Ron’s having job issues too and is currently farming full-time.  He indicates it doesn’t pay very well at the moment.  Joe’s just become a grandfather and there are baby pictures to see.  Hmm.  Another cousin with grandchildren.  I’m sensing a theme here.

Time zips by and I realize I need to get going.  I’ve got to finish packing and gas up the rental car.

For all my dread leading up to the annual sojourn to Sarcoxie, as I leave I realize very few things are as bad as you expect them to be.  I love seeing all the people I’m related to.  I’m honored that they take the time to arrange these gatherings.  My extended family is easy to love, easy to admire.  Seeing my mother continue to decline is the sad part, the part I dread.

While I’m talking abut my mother with Maxine I realize my mother left her support system behind when she left Sarcoxie.  She left her mother and her siblings.  Her in-laws.  Possibly even friends.  Familiar territory and people she knew she could count on.  She didn’t have a choice and she never wanted to leave.  Maybe that’s why she always wanted to come back.  It wasn’t the town of Sarcoxie itself.  It was what it represented to her.  It was home.  She never really felt comfortable anywhere else or around other people.

It’s only now that my mother is gone in so many ways that I think maybe I can understand her a little.  That’s enough of a reason for my annual Sarcoxie Days.

#mothers #hometowns

Sarcoxie Days

9/7/14  I’m on my way home!  Yay!  Yesterday we went to breakfast at The Hungry House with Maxine.  It was raining and cold after the 90 degree heat of the day before – a shock to find it in the 60’s.  20140906_095334The Hungry House is the only restaurant anywhere near Sarcoxie and it’s out on the highway.  We take the back roads to get there as directed by Maxine.  I’ve given up after The Sirloin Stockade and the corn dog at Chief Sarcoxie Days last night and decided to eat until I go home.  I can’t win. I know Janet will have a spread at her house later.

After breakfast I visit Loretta (my dad’s cousin) who lives two doors down.  She’s 102 and is thrilled when anyone stops in to see her.  Her family has suggested maybe she should move into the local nursing home.  She’s stayed there previously and they were nice to her and it was fine but she doesn’t see why she should go there if she’s still able to take care of herself.  She apologizes for forgetting things, but I think when you’ve got 102 years of memories you’re entitled to forget a few now and again.

Steve and I find Janet’s house with no difficulty.  Her sisters Cheryl and Connie are there along with assorted spouses, nieces and nephews and my uncle and aunt.  It’s delightful to see everyone and watch them interact .  I have to remind myself I’ve known these cousins since childhood.  I saw them every summer.  Now Cheryl is a grandmother and Connie will be one soon.  They’re both a little older than me so it’s too early to panic.

I don’t know how Janet does all she does.  She’s one of those perennially sunny-dispositioned people who make every event and every challenge appear to be a breeze.  She turns every accident into a funny story – as when the coffee carafe breaks and leaks water all over her kitchen counter.  Twice.IMG_1220

Cheryl has made a Boston Cream Pie that looks like a picture in a food magazine.  Connie’s made apple pie with Missouri apples.  Apparently the closer to home the apples are grown the better the pie.  I initially decline dessert but eventually succumb.  I’m on “vacation” after all.

We chat and play musical chairs to chat with someone else and take pictures.  Janet takes most of them.  If her camera is digital (surely it is) I hope she sends me copies so I can share.IMG_1221

On the way home Steve and I stop to see Mom again.  She’s already sitting at her place in the dining room even though the lights are off and dinner won’t be served for 45 minutes.  I’m pretty sure she has no idea who we are but we sit and chat as best we can.  Oddly she knows all five of her brothers’ names (in order) and her sister’s name.  Her parents’ names and her own.  Her husband’s name.  “Who could forget him?” she asks…without a trace of irony.

We talk about the sameness of the routine of her days.  Steve says it’s like Groundhog Day.  A reference we know she won’t get.  Then he starts explaining the premise of the movie to her.  Between her hearing issue, her confusion about what Steve’s trying to explain to her and his enthusiastic narrative, we start to giggle until he’s laughing so hard he can’t talk.  Eventually he tells Mom, “I guess you had to see the movie.”

When Mom’s tablemates start moving toward their seats it’s our cue to leave.  Mom has told us she’s hungry from the moment we arrived.  But when I offered her an overripe banana from a basket on the counter she declined – preferring to wait for her meal.  But I know what she was really waiting for was dessert.


(Every year I travel from Florida to Southwest Missouri where I was born to visit my mother and extended family.  My journal entries turn into blogs.  See the previous years’ blogs under “The House of Dust” and “The Guilt Trip.”)

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#cousins #Sarcoxie

When We Were Friends

ajtillock2013 012Maybe it was twenty-five years ago. Maybe it was only one. Or two. We were friends, weren’t we? Our children grew up together. We lived next door to each other. Or maybe you were in my wedding. Did you throw a baby shower for me? Where are you now?
Did we work together? Maybe it was the same club. Or exercise class. Or rehab.
We bonded, didn’t we? I thought we clicked. I thought you cared. I guess I was wrong.
Didn’t we giggle together? Mock the same things? Rewrite the endings to movies? Sing off-tune to the songs on the radio in the car?
What about those holidays when you were alone. Or I was. So we spent them together.
We have matching tattoos. But now I don’t remember why. Do you?
We were friends for a long time. Or it seemed like a long time. Weren’t you my soulmate? Didn’t you tell me once, “You’re the best friend I ever had” or “Our friendship is important to me”? I think now that was a lie. Because I haven’t heard from you in a very long time.
I think you’ve forgotten me. I think you don’t care. Even if you say you miss me, I wonder how is that possible? Because if you missed me you wouldn’t ignore me. Would you?
In my heart I didn’t go anywhere. You did.
Sometimes I think about you. In a random way. There’s a little ache in my heart. Right next to the soft spot I once had for you. Which isn’t so soft any more.
Are you dead? Are you happy? How’s your family? The kids? The boyfriend? The new husband? I’d like to know. But you don’t want me to. You don’t care that I’m still interested. I still care. You made me take my caring somewhere else. You don’t need me to care about you any more. I don’t know why I still do. I’d like to forget you, too. But I can’t. I won’t. I will always wonder. Why isn’t there room in our lives for each other any more?
Can you really count the number of true friends on the fingers of one hand?
I will always hope you’re happy, that your life is better without me in it. Without you mine isn’t.
But I’ve got a finger free.


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Barbs_Book_FrontMISCONCEIVE available on Amazon

Her husband’s in a coma.  He’s not the baby’s father…



To Those Given Much

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48).

ajtillock2013 012

This past week I’ve received two messages from friends of friends looking for donations to fund medical expenses. Both of these direly ill individuals are young people, one in her twenties, one in his thirties who is married with two children.

These are not tax deductible contributions as far as I know, they are just pleas for help from others.

Sometimes I wonder where my money goes. I look back at my life and at all the frivolous things I spent money on when I didn’t think I’d ever have to be concerned about the steady flow of cash. Foolish, foolish me. Back then I tried to imagine how it could all be gone. Turns out my imagination wasn’t that good.

Someone told me once that money is merely another form of energy. I can’t quite wrap my head around that. I wasn’t raised surrounded by money, but I sure didn’t mind having a generous supply of it. Money represents security in a way. Freedom to a certain extent. But along with money comes responsibility and its own set of headaches. Mostly those involve how to hang on to the money you’ve got.

Recently I got caught by one of those traffic cams while making a right-hand turn on a red light without stopping. $158 fine. I was not happy. I’m a good driver. How dare the government grab $158 of my hard-earned money for such a small infraction. No one was hurt. I didn’t cut off anyone’s right of way.

But when you hear the stories of these gravely ill individuals fighting for their lives or even some semblance of a “normal” life, you know in a heartbeat they’d trade places with you and be glad to even drive a car again and gladly pay a stupid traffic ticket. They may not have the chance to have children or raise the children they already have. It sort of puts it in perspective.

Good health is a gift I’m thankful for every day. I am also thankful for my car, my job which provides me with health insurance at a reasonable rate, my family and my friends. I try never to forget how blessed I am and how miniscule many of my “problems” are in view of many, many others’ situations.

So I have a traffic fine to pay. Big deal. There’s money for that. So how could there not be money to help someone in genuine need? To those who have been given much, much will be expected.

Check out the links to Heather and Eric.

Second Chance Chateau

It’s Over Island
A Short Story by Barbara Meyers
Chapter Two – Second Chance Chateau

Beth McCarthy woke without benefit of an alarm. Morning sun peeked through the window where a light breeze fluttered the lacy curtains. She’d painted the bedroom yellow and with the eastern-facing windows she often felt as though she’d just woken up in a big tub of butter.

She yawned and stretched and smiled to herself before she turned to look at Alex’s side of the bed. It was empty. She had no problem with that. No problem at all.

She padded out to the kitchen and pushed the button on the coffeemaker to get it going. The button didn’t light up like it was supposed to. She frowned before she remembered she’d have to make the coffee herself now.

No worries. She pulled the canister of beans toward her and scooped some into the grinder. While it whirred she thought back to the first week of Alex’s retirement. She’d still been working then and he’d begrudgingly allowed her to teach him how to make coffee. He’d gotten into the habit of setting everything up the night before so all she had to do in the morning before she left for her shift at the hospital was push a button. The coffee brewed while she got ready for work. She filled a travel mug and drank it on the drive in.

She filled the reservoir with water and pushed the button again. She wasn’t working any more so it wouldn’t matter if she had to make coffee herself every morning. For that matter, she could set it all up at night like he did. It was no big deal.

Mugsy, their ancient black lab, thumped her tail when Beth opened the door to the laundry room. Slowly the dog got to her feet. Beth petted her and rubbed her behind the ears thinking, Rats. She’d have to get dressed and take Mugsy out. The old dog’s bladder had aged right along with the rest of her and if she didn’t go out first thing, there’d be a mess to clean up. “I’ll be right back,” Beth told the dog.

Back in the bedroom she changed into workout clothes. In the kitchen the coffeemaker beeped. She’d really have liked a cup of coffee before she walked Mugsy, but she’d have to wait. The nice leisurely morning she’d envisioned for herself, the fragrant cup of coffee, a newspaper she didn’t have to share and blessed, blessed silence because the morning show political pundits Alex liked to yell at would be absent just as he was, evaporated.

She put the leash on Mugsy and waited while she made her arthritic way out the door and down the few steps to the driveway. Ever so slowly she meandered to the grass and relieved herself. Beth looked longingly at the plastic-bag-encased newspaper laying in the driveway. She coaxed Mugsy to the street and down to the patch of green near the lake where all the neighborhood dog owners took their dogs to do their business.

Mugsy wandered and sniffed, limping along, checking out every blade of grass. “Hurry up,” Beth hissed at her wondering how Alex found the patience to deal with the dog every single morning. In fact, since he’d retired, he’d completely taken over Mugsy’s care. He fed her, he walked her, he bathed her and took her to the vet.

Finally Mugsy found a spot to her satisfaction and squatted to do her business. Which seemed to take forever. A cloud moved over the sun and a stronger breeze blew. Beth thought again of that cup of coffee she’d be having right now if she hadn’t sent Alex away.

No, she warned herself. No regrets. She’d made a decision and she was sticking to it.

Mugsy completed her constitutional and Beth tugged on her leash to turn her around.

“You’re going to pick that up, aren’t you?”

Beth glanced around to see her least favorite neighbor, Donna Burnett, with her snotty toy poodle on a leash.

“Oh, hello, Donna. Yes. Of course, I was.”

Donna waited expectantly before she looked pointedly at what Mugsy had left behind.

“I uh, I’ll have to get a baggy,” Beth said. “I forgot. I’ll take Mugsy home and I’ll be right back.”

“We all pick up after our pets, Beth. You really should come prepared. Alex always is.”

“Well I forgot,” Beth snapped. “I said I’d be right back.”

Donna sniffed and walked off to the furthest patch of grass available so that Phoebe could pee.

“Come on, Mugsy,” Beth growled, forced to wait while Mugsy made her usual slow progress.

Beth fed Mugsy and filled her water dish. In the kitchen the scent of the coffee hung in the air, but it would have to wait. Beth found a plastic grocery bag and stalked back to the doggie do area. Donna was still there and made no secret of the fact that she was watching Beth’s poop retrieval technique.

“Happy now?” Beth said nastily as she strode back by, tying the handles of the bag together with Mugsy’s business inside.

“Perfectly.” Donna gave her a superior smile.

Beth fumed on the short walk back to the house. She tossed the bag into the garbage can and went into the kitchen where she poured a mug of coffee. She set it on the table before she remembered she’d left the newspaper in the driveway. She stomped back out to get it

That’s when she noticed the garbage cans sitting at the ends of her neighbors’ driveways. What was today? Thursday. Was Thursday a trash pickup day? Evidently. She didn’t bother to keep track because Alex did. He made sure the trash can was at the curb before six a.m. But Alex wasn’t here.

She lugged the garbage can out to the end of the driveway and left it there. See? That wasn’t so hard. She went back inside to her cup of coffee cooling on the table where she left it. Ah. Finally. She pulled out a chair and reached for the mug. She’d forgotten the newspaper. Of course she had because she was used to Alex retrieving it. Every morning he sorted out the lifestyle section and the department store ads and the crossword puzzle and left them on the table for her. Occasionally Alex would leave articles he thought would interest her. A book review or an acquaintance’s campaign for school board chairman. Sometimes it was a funny headline or an especially amusing Dilbert.

Dammit! She slammed her hand down on the table making it jump. Some of the coffee sloshed over the edge of the cup onto one of her favorite placemats. Mugsy gave her a look of reproach.

Beth growled again and stalked back outside to pick up the newspaper. Back at the table, determined to ignore the spill on the placemat, she flattened the newspaper and took a sip of coffee. It wasn’t hot enough and on top of that, it didn’t taste the way it usually did.

She set the mug in the microwave to warm it up and went back to the table. This time she almost burned her tongue, but the coffee still tasted flat and bitter.

Was it possible once she’d taught Alex how to make coffee she’d lost the ability to do so?

Tough, she’d just have to relearn it. She made herself drink it while she read the newspaper in her quiet, quiet house.

The quiet didn’t last long. The moment Beth flushed the toilet in the master bath she knew she’d made a monumental error. The toilet tank emitted a sickly bubbling noise that wouldn’t stop. It had been doing this for a couple of months and Beth had been on Alex to fix it for at least three weeks. He’d promised he would but until then each time she complained he grudgingly left his recliner and did something inside the tank that made the noise stop. Temporarily appeasing her. Until the next time when she’d nag him again about fixing it. The last time had been the day before yesterday when she’d threatened to call a plumber.

“It’s a ten dollar part,” Alex informed her. “It just needs to be replaced.”

“Then replace it!” Beth told him exasperated. “Before I replace you,” she muttered under her breath.

Now she lifted the lid off the toilet tank and stared at the wheezing, gasping malfunctioning part and the water bubbling around it. Although she knew the water in the tank was clean she didn’t want to touch anything. She’d probably make it worse if that were possible. She replaced the lid and closed the door to the bathroom. Problem solved.

By mid-morning Beth was starving. She called her best friend, Kate. “Want to grab some lunch?”

“I can’t. I’m getting my nails done then I’ve got to stop in at the office for a little while. I told Candy I’d pick T.J. up from pre-school because she has a dentist appointment. Sorry. Today’s not good at all.”

Beth sighed. “No problem. I’ll catch up with you later.” Glumly she opened the door to the refrigerator. There wasn’t much there and what was there wasn’t anything she wanted to eat. She closed the door. No big deal. She’d go grocery shopping.

Ever since Alex retired they’d started grocery shopping together. Mostly because she refused to buy the kind of food he liked to have around. Cookies and potato chips. Ice cream and sweet tea. He’d been warned that he was pre-diabetic, but all of her pleas to him to make better food choices and to exercise fell on deaf ears. Gradually, however, she liked to think her healthier choices were growing on him. He didn’t complain about grilled chicken and fresh vegetables or oatmeal and fruit for breakfast. She figured it all balanced out.

While they food-shopped she educated him on what to look for on the labels. Since she didn’t have to consider him any more, she sped through the store, shopping the perimeter. Lots of produce. Chicken and fish. A couple of healthy frozen meals for one.

She looked at her cart as she got in line for the cashier. Everything about it screamed “I am single.” A momentary pang of sadness hit her, but as soon as the conveyer belt started to move and she could unload the cart she pushed it away. Alex had his chance. She was so sick of him never wanting to do anything, never wanting to go anywhere, never being with her, she wasn’t going to miss him. For so long she’d felt single. This isn’t a relationship, she’d told herself. This isn’t a marriage. This is me. By myself. And Alex over there doing his own thing. We aren’t together in any sense of the word.

The cashier rang up her purchases faster than Beth could get to the keypad to scan her credit card. Flustered, Beth dug out her wallet and selected a card, while the cashier spun the bags around on the carousel, indicating that Beth needed to get them and put them in her cart. Beth started to do that but the cashier called her back to sign her name. She took her receipt and started to leave.

“Ma’am,” the cashier called her back. “You forgot your bags.”

“I did?”

The cashier spun the carousel around some more and Beth saw that there were three more bags she hadn’t picked up. “Thank you,” she mumbled after she retrieved them. Dammit, Alex, she thought. Alex always took charge of unloading the cart and then positioned himself near the carousel to load the bags. Normally, Beth’s only responsibility in the grocery store was to present the coupons and scan her credit card, sign the keypad and take the receipt. They worked as a team and usually the bags were in the cart and Alex was ready to push it out to the car as soon as she was finished paying.

She’d been grocery shopping by herself for years but she’d gotten spoiled having Alex do half the work and all of the heavy lifting. Oh, well. It wasn’t that big a deal. When she got home she parked in the garage and began to unload the bags, making several trips from the car to the kitchen and back. Alex always insisted on carrying everything in and together they’d put it all away, discussing what to have for dinner.

On her final trip into the house with the last of the bags, Beth stopped and stared at Alex’s workbench. A lump formed in her throat and tears gathered in her eyes as what she saw blurred before her. Several of Alex’s tools were neatly laid out next to a package emblazoned with the words, “Toilet Tank Repair Kit.”

Alex woke as if a switch had been turned on. He was back in his own bed, the one he shared with Beth, in his own familiar room. Dawn was just creeping around the corners of the window. He listened to the familiar almost-silence of the house they’d lived in for thirty years. He’d get up pretty soon and start the coffee brewing so it would be ready when Beth woke up. He’d take Mugsy for a walk and retrieve the newspaper on the way back.

Alex was almost afraid to turn his head to see if Beth was there with him on her side of the bed where he always expected her to be. He did, though, and she was. He breathed a sigh of relief and turned on his side, snuggling up against her, spooning her. He hadn’t done that in a long time. He’d almost forgotten how good it felt to be close to her like this, feeling her warmth, her softness, everything about her familiar and reassuring.

He pressed his nose against her neck, letting her hair tickle him. She made a sound in her sleep, like she was dreaming of tasting something delicious. She wiggled back against him and pulled his arm more tightly around her lacing her fingers over his.

“I had a bad dream,” he whispered against her ear.

He sensed her go on alert. She turned her head slightly toward him. “Did you? So did I.”

They relaxed against each other, savoring the moment, knowing explanations weren’t always necessary. Words so often got in the way.

After a few minutes, Alex said, “Hey.”


“Think it’s too late to sign up for that cooking class?”

Author’s Note: As promised this was Chapter Two of my short story “It’s Over Island.” See Chapter One posted on 6/20/14.  If you enjoyed this story please share it.

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ajtillock2013 012How many times have you heard something billed as unforgettable?  How many times have you forgotten that something?  I consider it false advertising, as in the case of E‘s promotion of the Eric and Jessie Game On’s “unforgettable” season finale.  Not only will I personally find it forgettable, because I don’t follow that particular program, I am quite certain even those who do will have forgotten it within a fairly short period of time.

Maybe it’s a sign of my advanced age, as I realize I’ve forgotten more details of my life than I remember.  My children’s childhoods?  One big blur.  I know I raised them, survived the experience, lived it.  But so many of the details are gone.  Every vacation we took has melded into one big road trip.  Every one of my son’s baseball games from tee ball to senior year in high school is like one game to me.  Yet my son and my husband can recall details from a particular Little League game.  My most vivid period of those baseball years was the catcher on the opposing team falling on my son and breaking his arm.

I did this to my mother:  “Don’t you remember?”  and I’d fill in the blank.  She’d look at me and say, “Are you sure I was there?”  Whereupon I would quote her chapter and verse of the incident and the conversation at the time.  Now I’m doing it to my kids.  They can’t believe I don’t remember just as I didn’t when my mother couldn’t.  Trust me.  It’s gone.

My dad claimed he suffered from CSR.  Can’t Remember Stuff.  I offered my theory that the older you get the more you have to remember and your brain is only so big.  So something must be jettisoned to make room for something new.

If you want to know how much of your life you’ve forgotten start writing your autobiography.

At the same time I realize I’ve forgotten many details of my life, it seems what I don’t forget are the bad memories.  The mistakes I made.  The foolish choices.  The embarrassing moments.  They creep up to haunt me when I least expect it, whirling around my brain when my brain and I both know there’s nothing we can do about them now.

We don’t learn a lot from the happy times, although of course, I have some happy memories.  I think.  Maybe the reason why I seem to remember every bad thing that ever happened to me is because those are the ones that taught me the most valuable life lessons.  Maybe that’s what makes them unforgettable.

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Escape into a romance novel on your next #unforgettable #road trip.



Anti-Social Media

“Support polygamy.  More available guys for the rest of us.”

That’s a Tweet I didn’t post.  Couldn’t get the wording quite right.  I thought it was funny.  My daughter was appalled.  I said, “Look at it this way:  if some guy marries four women, that takes them out of the competition for the pool of men still out there.”  She said, “Yeah, but what about those four women?  Don’t you care about them?”  Um, not really.

I figure any women foolish enough to share a guy with several other women and any guy foolish enough to think he can keep multiple women satisfied deserve each other.  I’m not in the dating pool myself, but from what I’ve heard there’s a dearth of decent, heterosexual datable men and the competition for them is tough.  Anything, that improves the odds for the women out there looking, I’m all for it.

(This was an unfinished blog/thought when I accidentally hit the publish button instead of the save draft button, and now it’s already gone out as a FB and Twitter post so even though I deleted it to finish that unfinished thought at a later date, that left a blank page for anyone looking to read more.  At first I thought who cares, no one reads my blog posts anyway, but now I think there are no accidents so I might as well post what I wrote.  This is it. Me and technology, a love/hate relationship.)

God’s Teachable Moments

ajtillock2013 012*5-10-14  I’m sitting outside on my red chair overlooking the golf course.  If the maintenance guy would stop driving by in his noisy cart spraying or whatever he’s doing it would be more pleasant than it is.  Beautiful morning.  I shamed/guilted Bill into going for bagels.  I had such a craving.  I’ve already messed up the Suduko.  I dropped 2 lbs. since yesterday.  159.5 to 157.5.  I’ll ride 6 miles today to work off my bagel.  Then I’ll write.  That’s my plan.

I was thinking about abandonment – the theme of my life.  Emotional.  Physical.  Am I/have I abandoned myself somehow.  As a child I didn’t want to be singled out for ridicule so I tried to be invisible.  Now I’m frustrated because I feel sometimes like I don’t exist.  How to change that?  Do I want to?  Because you may then open yourself up to ridicule again.  Is it better to be ignored?  Better to be rejected?  I don’t ask because I don’t want to hear no, but  if you don’t ask you don’t get anything either.  God, I’m ready for some more blessings.  Please send them my way and help me to recognize them when you do!

God’s probably thinking I ignore Him and His blessings.  Think how often He is rejected!  Think how often people abandon their faith in Him.  Is this His teachable moment for me?  Thank you God.  That’s a blessing.

If you looked at every aspect of your life as one of God’s teachable moments it would/should change your perspective.  Isn’t that what this life is about?  Creating perfection through fire?  Melting us, molding us, bring us closer to Him.

Think of a blacksmith holding iron over fire.  What if you were the metal feeling the heat of that fire – the pain you go through in life.  Then the blacksmith pulls the iron out of the fire and pounds on it.  Wham!  Wham!  Wham!  What if the iron felt every blow just as you feel every life blow, every set-back, every rejection, every loss, every heartache.  Wham!  Wham!  Wham!

But all the while the blacksmith is shaping that piece of iron into something beautiful and perfect.  Just like God is (trying) to shape us.  Every minute of every day He exposes us to one of His teachable moments sometimes with a WHAM, sometimes with a gentle tap.  As the iron maybe we are given a choice – to allow that blacksmith to mold us into something of perfection and beauty.  Or maybe we can twist ourselves into a shape of our own making preferring instead the company of the scrap heap.

God can pound the selfishness, the ego, the cruelty, the “it’s all about me” attitude out of us if we let him.  But fire and a master blacksmith can only do so much against a will of iron that has control of its choices.

*From my morning journaling, unedited.

#God #teachable moments